Top Tips from your MSL community - UCLan SU give us the lowdown

The UCLan Students' Union logo in orange text

December 2022 -  UCLan Students’ Union has always tried to offer a variety of different ways to engage with their students as a union providing services and support to members on the separate campuses of University of Central Lancashire in Preston and Burnley in Lancashire.  We spoke with Hannah, the Communications & Marketing Manager at UCLan SU, so we could catch up on the past year, get updated on current focuses, and find out what the future holds for UCLan SU - along with some Top Tips to best support each and every student.


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As the Communications & Marketing Manager at UCLan SU, how have you maintained student engagement with the SU?


This year, when it comes to communications and marketing, we want to focus on creating exciting, relatable, and engaging social media content. TikTok and Reels are where it’s at right now and we reviewed our Marketing Coordinator role to adapt to be more social media and content focused. We now have a Social Media & Marketing Coordinator full-time, with the support of two part-time Social Media Assistants who are current students. The more fun and authentic content we create, the more engagement we’re getting. In terms of the website content, we’re looking at having more student-led blogs and content to be included. Recently, we had a PhD student write a piece for Black History Month which reached over 400 views and was shared across social media. One of our Social Media Assistants has also written a blog about combatting the Winter months and focusing on mental health and wellbeing.

What kind of content do you find is the most engaging on the website - do you have any tips for other SUs trying to put out engaging content?

Our Societies web page has always been one of more viewed and engaged with. We know students are looking for something to get involved with and with the high number of, and more wide ranging, Societies we have at UCLan SU this is a place where students can find what they’re looking for. We plan to do some work and training with our group committees to support them in creating better quality web pages for their groups. With better web pages we hope it’ll increase their membership and help them have more active and engaged members.

What did Freshers Week look like for UCLan SU this year, are you planning a Re-Freshers for the New Year?

Freshers was great this year. It felt like a ‘proper’ Freshers again after the last couple of years of COVID-19. We tried some new events like a roller disco and Bingo Lingo and balanced it with more traditional events like our Fairs and Welcome BBQ. We worked collaboratively with our University on an extended induction period so students have longer to settle in and be involved. We ran more Freshers style activities in the first week of November as this is typically a week in the academic year when students really struggle with mental health, homesickness and questioning whether University is for them. We’ll be planning some Re-Freshers activities for January as we welcome back students after Christmas, but also welcome a new cohort of January intake students to our Preston, Burnley and Westlakes campuses.

How did you promote this on the website – any tips that you found were successful for UCLan SU?

For Freshers, we set up a subsite so we could direct students to the relevant web pages where they’d find all the information they needed. It included what’s on over Freshers, information about Officers, Clubs and Societies, and some student written blogs. Having one space with all the information meant it was easier to promote our Freshers activity and have bespoke content for new students. Many of our events were sold out. The Freshers site had over 21,700k views between launch on A-Level Results Day to Freshers finishing. Next year we’re looking at how we can refresh our Freshers site template and make it more interactive, while remaining accessible and informative. – Hannah Mason - Communications & Marketing Manager

What are your main priorities for the 2022/2023 academic year - are there any areas UCLan SU will be focusing on in particular for student engagement?

As a Students’ Union, we have our core Union Priorities which are led by our Elected Officers. This year they’re focused on supporting disabled students, Black Asian Minority Ethnic students, and our international students. Based on this, our communications and marketing focus lies directly in how we can support the work being done in these areas. Last year, we created an International Students’ Hub on the website and this year we plan to look at developing a Liberation Hub to support and champion the work done for our marginalised communities.

We’ve also recently reviewed our website roadmap and will be sharing with staff the key areas of the website (both front facing and behind-the-scenes) that we plan to work on and which we see as a priority. From this work, we hope to continue developing our site and ironing out any comments and suggestions highlighted in staff feedback and though our website audit.

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